I am thinking of starting a writing group at UT this semester. I want the accountability, and I want to help others achieve their writing goals, too. Many people probably won’t want to commit to a writing plan, but some will, and I want those of us who will be writing regularly to be a support to one another. I am working on determining the appropriate goals I should set. I know one goals will be to write for at least 30 minutes a day. That goal is certainly achievable, much more so than committing to write for a hour or more a day. Some days just won’t allow it. 30 minutes is doable. Another goal I am trying to figure out is how many words to shoot for every day. I wonder if 1,000 words is too aggressive. So far, I have been able to meet that goal, but it might not be sustainable over the long term. Perhaps I should shoot for an average number of words per minute. I think 30 words might be doable, but I’m not sure. I guess I’ll just have to work on it and refine the goals as time goes on.
I am thinking the writing group would meet at least once a month, but twice would be better. A month is a long time to wait between meetings. It would be harder to keep up the momentum when you have 4 weeks between meetings. I think I’ll suggest meeting twice a month, so we can report on about 2 weeks’ worth of writing each time. That will be a much better time period. Maybe we can make it on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month at 12 pm, since Toastmasters is the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 12 pm. That would give me something to do almost every Tuesday of every month (unless there is ever a 5th Tuesday).
I would like to set up a writing group mailing list, as well. This would be used for members to send emails to others and ask questions about writing, research, sending out drafts for review, etc. Perhaps we should all shoot for having a draft of something ready for each meeting and then send it around to one other person for review. But then at the meeting, if we did that, it could get long. I just want the meetings to be brief, i.e. show up report on our progress towards our writing goals, ask for advice on whatever we need, set up new goals for the next period, and then go. The mailing list could be for additional communication, such as feedback and support. Of course, I’ll run this by everyone who decides to be a part of the group to see what works for them, but these are my initial thoughts.
If I write 1,000 words/day for a week, that is 5,000 words/week, 21,666 words/month, and 260,000 words/year. I could be wrong, but I think articles are generally 5,000 – 10,000 words. That would mean, I could write the equivalent of an article every week to two weeks. That’s obviously not sustainable, as I don’t have enough data or anything to write an article a week. I don’t have anything to write about now, that’s why I’m writing stuff in my blog. I’m cultivating the writing habit even though I don’t have any content to write about yet. But if I did have data, then I could knock out a paper about the data in, at most, one month. That is really reassuring. And that’s just for 30 minutes of writing per day. It’s amazing what disciplined writing time will do. This is how I will become a highly published author in my field. I will be on the list of the most prolific authors in library and information science, among practitioners, if I keep this up.